Forecasts from KBank point to the baht weakening against the greenback by the end of the year. Looming interest rate hikes in the United States and the potential of the U.K leaving the European Union are to blame.
The bank’s capital market research department asserts that the baht will weaken in the second half of the year as global uncertainties push the currency downward.
Immediate forecasts have the baht retreating to 35.50 versus the USD in June, falling to 36 versus the greenback in July, and reaching 37 versus the dollar by the end of the year. Siam Commercial Bank also forecasts the baht falling to 37.
The baht has fallen slightly from Monday’s 35.21/35.23 to 35.28/35.30 on Tuesday.
KBank believes that the United States will increase interest rates twice this year, starting with a hike in July. Offshore funds have increased greatly in Asia, with foreign holdings of Thai bonds skyrocketing from 40 billion baht to over 140-billion-baht last week.
The Bank of Thailand may hold off on raising interest rates from the current 1.5% level due to a downward trend on the baht. The downward trend further reduces pressure on investors that were anticipating an interest rate hike.
The SET index target for the end of the year has been revised upward from 1,350 – 1,470 to 1,400 – 1,500 points by Kasikorn Securities. The increase follows Thailand outperforming expectations and realizing 3.2% Q1 growth year over year. Economic momentum is slated to continue as the government rolls out megaprojects and implements stimulus measures.